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#28DaysofBlackCosplay Spotlight – Shawn A.

First Name and Last Initial: Shawn A.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Brooklyn, NY (Still residing)

How long have you been cosplaying? For about 3 years

Which characters have you cosplayed? Marvel – Red Skull, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)  Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Coming soon, DC Comics Deathstorm (Black Lantern Corp)

What inspired you to start cosplaying? What got me inspired to do cosplay was because I was a comic book collector when I was younger and I was a very shy kid so comic books were my outlet and helped me use my imagination.  I stopped collecting as I got older but always kept a close ear to the street about what was going on in the comic book universe and as they started making more strides into movies and TV it made me more excited seeing the characters I grew up with come to life on the big and small screen.  Halloween was my favorite time of year so I looked forward to dressing up in my favorite comic character outfits.  Over time, they became more elaborate and I used to get numerous compliments but it sucked that I would have to wait once a year to where them.  Then cosplay came into my life and it’s the best thing to happen.  As a self-described geek/nerd/blerd I used to watch the G4 channel and they did an episode about San Diego Comic Con featuring cosplayers and I was hooked.  The costumes were amazing and I said I can do this!  And I haven’t stopped.  I was nervous at my first Con but once I saw others doing it, especially at all different ages, I felt at home.

What do you do when you are not cosplaying? When I’m not cosplaying I’m a professional actor and voice-over artist.  I’m also a martial artist studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Best advice for new cosplayers is don’t be afraid to express yourself.  Whether big or small, do what makes you feel comfortable.  It’s supposed to be fun, so have some!  Don’t be afraid to ask other cosplayers that you see in person or online for help.  The community for the most part are very helpful.  Be proud of what you made or put together.  Also use your imagination.  Sometimes making costumes can be expensive but that gets your creative juices flowing and you can find cost effective ways to do your cosplay for cheaper.

Why do you feel that #28DaysofBlackCosplay is important? #28DaysOfCosplay is important to me and many other people of color because in this current political climate, race relations are prevalent in our society and they can be intense at times.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be Batman, Superman, etc.  I remember when a kid said to me, “…you can’t be Superman because he’s white so you have to be the bad guy.”  It hurt to hear something like that as a child but it never deterred me.  Being whatever superhero you want to be also parallels into whatever person you want to be in real life.  I get inspired when I see more PoC doing cosplay because they shatter barriers that people impose on us.  I get more inspired when I see very young children come to conventions and light up when they see cosplayers especially minorities. We love comics too.  We love using our imaginations too.  Why not us?!

What is one thing the PoC cosplay community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other as well as non PoCs? One thing PoC cosplayers can do better when it comes to dealing with each other is just have that open channel of communication.  I’ve made a lot of new friends and followers through social media and get asked questions that I’m happy to answer.  Some people want to get into cosplay but are afraid of being judged as being weird or whatever so we need to give them that inspiration to just go for it.  Just try to be available and open to help others out.

About Armand (1273 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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